Five Punk Bands on Bill at Whisky
THE WHISKY celebrated May Day by presenting a host of laborers from the punk vineyard. The five-group bill centered on the Dils, avowed practitioners of proletarian punk. The trio, one of the few American punk bands to bring a “workers-unite” consciousness to the musical movement, seemed to think itself a bit more equal than the other bands, commandeering the stage for a disproportionate segment of the evening.
The Dils’ imperialistic tactics not only aroused pockets of resentment in the room, but also diluted the potent nature of much of its music. Angry and authoritative in presence and delivery, the Dils encases sentiments like ‘I Hate the Rich’ in a gritty punk sound with a clanging, Byrds-like resonance.
Taken to inappropriate length, though, repetition begins to tell, and much of the set consisted of uneventful stretches separating its moments of compelling intensity.
F-Word opened the show with a solid but unremarkable representation of the scowling, alienated sensibility. Its punk-cum-blues owes a lot to Iggy and the Stooges. The slow, moody ‘Shut Down’ was a welcome change of pace, indicating that the hand may go beyond its currently middle-of-the-punk-road approach.
The Consumers is an interesting entry, overcoming violence-prone clichés by the sheer force of its zany look (the Weirdos are normals by comparison) and odd, fits-and-starts song structures. Its theatrical manner occasionally misfires, but when on target the group is captivatingly psychotic.
The Alleycats’ singer-guitarist looks like one of Elvis’ scrawny prison cronies from ‘Jailhouse Rock’ and, sure enough, that song fit neatly into the trio’s unaffected, honest set which combined punk and basic rock ‘n’ roll with power and finesse.
X closed up shop, and while lead vocalist Exene — usually a fireball performer — was in a rather low-key mood, the band’s imaginative extensions of the basic punk vocabulary mark it as a group to watch. A long but interesting evening.
© Richard Cromelin, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 1978